Just a day…

I had to take a personal day from work today. It’s was a tough call. I’m flowing love to my team today. I do not like letting you down. You are so incredibly gracious. I’m grateful and honored to work with you rock stars of memory and quick, positive service. Some of the most brilliant minds for memorization and detail are on the front end of #WFMArroyo (Whole Foods Market). I do NOT include myself in that description as I seem a bit inept at learning the produce codes. People ARE so patient, truly. Almost always. Customers, co-workers, and leadership have shown me so much grace as I find my way as an artist in Los Angeles.
 
The employees at #WFMArroyo are C R E A T I V E and S U P P O R T I V E. There is LOVE in the house there. I do feel it palpably at times. We all have our struggles, wins and losses. I work with WARRIORS who serve with a smile. They inspire me. Even as I’ve been in bed ALL day. Finally getting enough energy to get up, out and into the day. #LifeWithLeela, #ItsAJourney.  
 
Today I was a bit overwhelmed with work from my second job and a feeling of sleep depravation. Narcolepsy.  Awesome.  I don’t want to be Debbie Downer.  I do not enjoy hanging out with Debbie Downers.   So I don’t like having to admit that sometimes, I struggle with some pretty heavy duty depression.  Like, seriously, Leela… GET OUT OF THE BED!!  But today I let myself stay in it and feel restored.  Rest is a miracle.  And some quality alone time to nurture the heart can feel like it’s erasing 5 years of stress.
 
I am learning to navigate my new life with more GRACE and skill… but find myself a bit clumsy in the transition. I still have a a significant chunk of work to do today, but wanted to quickly check in to say I am I N S P I R E D and writing, W O R K I N G, doing my best to catch a tailwind.
I just came across the images at the bottom of this post and had the thought, “Oh yeah.  I remember when that was me.  An ambitious afternoon radio personality, fortunate enough to attend the speech and press room for then Senator Obama’s campaign stop in Portland.  I still have the audio file on an old recorder.  I MUST find a way to retrieve that file.  I need to compare the tape to my memory.  My heart was pounding.  I was terrified.  I did not feel worthy to be in the press core.
But I stopped him in his tracks.  He had taken his last question and had made it a halfway across the stage on his exit when I finally worked up the guts to shout over the clicks and questions and heart pounding FEAR, in my most clear and cut-through-the-noise-voice, something like this, “SENATOR OBAMA, THE DALI LAMA IS CRYING OUT FOR HELP and support around the atrocities being inflicted on Tibet by the Chinese government.  As President  of The United States, what message would you send to China and world leaders about where the United States stands on the issue of human rights?”
He was leaving.  And he stopped.  He returned to the podium to answer MY question.  That happened.  My QUESTION made now President Barack Hussein Obama II stop, turn around, and return to the podium.  He hadn’t even seen me.  It was the passion in my voice.  He must have felt my sense of urgency in the matter, because I LOVE The DL.  He brought Darfur in western Sudan into the conversation.  I was glad he did.  His answer was safe.  He was wise, I remember thinking, in how he handled the China question.  Smart.  I liked him.  I was elated when he won.
My mom was there in Portland, Oregon that day, visiting from Texas.  Sitting right next to me in the press room.  How did THAT happen?  But so cool that it did.  I’m so glad she got to see me in my terrified power, feeling FEAR but shouting out anyway.  That day, I was WONDER WOMAN, and I was so proud of myself.  And Mom was proud of me too.  And I was proud of her for being there and staying open despite our not always agreeing political views at the time. It was a good day.
This memory helps me touch that part of me that runs toward personal fear and boundary breaking expression, as I navigate some fear this day, but show up for Life anyway.
Thanks for caring.  Thanks for being here.
xo – Leela
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Senator Obama and Governor Bill Richardson, Charlotte NC 2008 - Taken from my iPhone from the press core when I worked for CBS radio.
Senator Obama and Governor Bill Richardson, Charlotte NC 2008 – Taken from my iPhone from the press core when I worked for CBS radio.

Slow Down Groove

Up too late.  Again.  I’m super sleepy, but I must write because I made a promise to myself, and each stroke of the keys is me following through and keeping my word.  Feels good, even though my right eye is closed and my left eye is drooping, and bouncing closed and open and closed and open again.  Damn, I’m sleepy.

Some pretty cool things are unfolding right now; and some pretty scary stuff too.  I love my life; and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it.  I’m GRATEFUL for every day I’m being given here to LIVE and explore this human journey.

Sometimes I allow petty things to get under my skin, and when I do I feel shame and judgement toward myself that I’m no Pema Chodrin when it comes to Grace; except when I am.  And for those moments, when I get to walk in compassion, I’m so grateful.

I call my unenlightened moments, “Spiritual Narcolepsy” because I can feel totally Spiritually awake one moment, and then the next I’m seething because someone darts in front of me to steal the only parking space for blocks on the hottest day of summer when I’m on a deadline.  I feel myself become livid at times; then I breathe and think, “I am THAT too.” And eventually I come back to a place of love for the asshole, and forgiveness for myself for having judged said hole as such.

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That first segment was written sometime after midnight last night.  I fell asleep before I could finish and hit “send.”

The following segment is a celebration of my past, present, and future.  This first performance of Slow Down Groove was about finding something within myself to share as an artist.  It was risky for me, and I thank “Sally Sincere” and “Trixy Lane” from Off The Record Cabaret for coming out to play and share their gifts.  I found courage in our rehearsals to finally share this piece LIVE.  I felt so shaky at times I could barely sing, especially at the beginning, but it was so much fun to share this little autobiography.

Terror creeps up sometimes as I’m about to perform, and it happened at the beginning of this song. =) It resulted in a couple of little pitch issues, but I’m happy with the overall performance… a good first effort…. singing through knocking knees. =)

CLICK THIS LINK TO WATCH THE VIDEO:  Please respect the 18 or over guideline for viewing.  https://vimeo.com/139434593

This song is really more of a musical story with its loose structure. It was a nod to my past, from classic good girl to exotic dancer to preacher’s wife to performance artist.  Yes.  THAT all happened.  And I’m no longer ashamed, because those experiences were a time of tremendous growth and humility for me.  I’ve learned so much about life; things I would have been well-served to learn as a younger woman.  I learned about judgement and misogyny and personal empowerment, negotiations, boundaries, and TRUE self respect.

Thanks for being here and reading this, however it may land for you.

Here is to brighter tomorrows for everyone.

xoxo Leela

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Revolution: Peaceful Resolution

Hi Friends,

Here is a little something from the PARADOX show on 9/9/15.  There is better sound recorded on a TASCAM, but I’m not able to sync it up right now, so here is the raw, live sound from the video camera.

Here is the direct Vimeo link if you’d like to share it directly: https://vimeo.com/140997873

Thank you to everyone supporting my art… and ultimately ME in doing so.  I’m grateful.

With Love,

Leela

 

44 & Through The Door!

Hey Loves!

So far 44 is amazing.  In the past 7 days since my birthday, I’ve done my first LIVE SHOW in Burbank and gone camping in Joshua Tree for 4 days; my first time camping in the desert alone, but not really alone because I was surrounded by other campers attending #Bhaktifest 2015.  AMAZING!!   I also started a new position at work as a cashier for “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” and got the video footage from my show, PARADOX.

I’m SO EXCITED about what we were able to capture on 9/9/15 at Theatre Banshee, and look forward to making more clips available as they are ready.  I feel as if I’ve stepped through a magical door I’ve been looking at for years from the other side.  And on THIS side of the door, I’m singing, dancing, and doing my thang as a performance artist. It feels good.

Here is the first video for “Slow Down Groove in C minor,” featuring Steve Postell and Matt Cartsonis on guitar and the Goddesses of Off The Record Cabaret, Sally Sincere and Trixy Lane, dancing to celebrate the feminine.  It was such a fun night. =)  This clip is a little naughty, which was part of the fun.

Thanks to everyone supporting my artistic journey.  I’m so grateful.

 

Love to all-
Leela

 

Gather Your Rosebuds…

Hey Loves! Life is fleeting, so let’s PLAY while we are able!!!

For some reason, I feel like I’ve been drifting from friends lately. Some have died. Some have just sort of drifted with space and time. I’m learning that, for me, there is no “goodbye” with Soul Friends, just, “until we meet again,” if only in thought.

At times, there is some sadness and longing for friends I no longer see, but beneath it, just gratitude that I was given even a moment of connection. Life is just a series of moments. That’s it. That’s all. So when it feels like “too much,” I find comfort in the temporary nature of all things… and also grief that all things must end. PARADOX.

Which reminds me…

I’m doing my show PARADOX on September 9th!It’s about damned time. I’m EXCITED!

And I’m terrified. Voices of doubt come in to say, “Who do you think you are, Ms. Vox… IF that is even your REAL NAME?!”

But I’m doing it… ANYWAY! Internal voices of doubt can kiss my motivated ass all the way from Texas, where I was born, to the Big Apple, where illusions began to fall away, to North Carolina where I got to be a local radio star and exotic dancer, to Portland where I was a radio-star, minister’s wife, raw-food yogi-colonhydrotherapist to Los Angeles, where I now reside and am finding my way as a contributing artist in this soup of brilliant talent and content.  Nope… THAT’s not at ALL intimidating.  =)  So….

ONWARD to whatever brave thing is calling you today.

xoxo – Leela

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Rain

RAIN in Los Angeles is a healing balm on the chapped earth. I can almost hear the land saying “Thank You, Sky,” between quenching gulps of wet relief.

For me, rain has become a sweet sense of connection to my beloved friends in Portland, Oregon, now in the midst of their long, rainy season.  

I never thought I’d miss the rains, or feel so grateful to have been caught in a downpour as I was this evening. This journey south has made me grateful for what I once took for granted.